“Super Mario Galaxy 2” (rated E, $50 on Wii): Mario games are a mixed bag for me, and “SMG2” is no exception. So far, the gameplay is pretty close to flawless. Other than a handful of times I’ve cursed the Wii Nunchuk for not having a better analog stick, I’ve had a blast. But am I crazy for wishing that Nintendo’s top-flight gameplay and level designers made friends with some people who could write something other than the same ol’ “Princess Peach gets kidnapped by Bowser and you must rescue her” story line? “SMG2” even begins with the same event as the first “Galaxy,” even though it’s only supposed to happen once every 100 years. And don’t even get me started on the voice acting. Anyway, I’ll be playing this a lot over the next week or so so that I can review it. I imagine at some point I’ll stop longing for the things it doesn’t have (story, acting, user-created content) and better appreciating the things it does (amazing levels).
“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PC): While I still had about an hour of the co-op story to go when I filed my column on Wednesday morning, I finished it off Thursday night before I posted a slightly tweaked review to this blog. Fun times. After two Thursdays of this with my co-op buddy Carl, though, we’ll probably return to “Borderlands” next Thursday night.
“Red Dead Redemption” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3): I’ve dabbled with this one, but it has yet to really grab me so far.
“Culdcept Saga” (rated T, out of print on Xbox 360, prices vary): I run leagues for this game over at Culdcept Central and am battling for my life in the playoffs. I mention this game from time to time, but it remains an underappreciated gem. The ruthless meat grinder of online league play in this mix of collectible card and board game is not for the faint of heart.
“God of War” (rated M, part of “God of War Collection” on PS3, $30): I picked up a PlayStation 2 relatively late in the console’s life cycle and never owned an original PlayStation. So a lot of Sony’s classic franchises represent unfamiliar territory. Though I’m pretty preoccupied with new stuff for my column and blog, I do try to revisit the classics I’ve missed out on and have been catching up with “God of War” lately. It’s fun, if a bit dated, so I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me with “God of War III,” which I’ve sampled but not finished. Also, the sex scene was ridiculous, and slightly embarrassing.
“Magic: The Gathering — Duels of the Planeswalkers” (rated T, $10 Xbox Live Arcade download): Still unlocking cards as an occasional palate cleanser/spaceout activity.